What is a person’s aura?

Auras are thought of as the unseen field of energy surrounding a person’s physical body. They’re affected by our mood and emotional state (and sometimes the states of others), and different colors are associated with different qualities and emotions. 

According to spiritual beliefs, an aura or energy field is a colored emanation said to enclose a human body or any animal or object.  In some esoteric positions, the aura is described as a subtle body.  Psychics and holistic medicine practitioners often claim to have the ability to see the size, color, and type of vibration of an aura.

In spiritual alternative medicine, the human being’s aura is seen as part of a hidden anatomy that reflects the state of being and health of a client, often understood to even comprise centers of vital force called chakras. Such claims are not supported by scientific evidence and are thus pseudoscience. When tested under scientifically controlled experiments, the ability to see auras has not been proven to exist.

The concept of auras was first popularized by Charles Webster Leadbeater, a former priest of the Church of England and a member of the mystic Theosophical Society. Leadbeater had studied theosophy in India, and believed he had the capacity to use his clairvoyant powers to make scientific investigations. In his book Man Visible and Invisible published in 1903, Leadbeater illustrated the aura of man at various stages of his moral evolution, from the “savage” to the saint.

In yoga participants attempt to focus on or enhance their “auric energy shield”. The concept of auric energy is spiritual and is concerned with metaphysics. Some people think that the aura carries a person’s soul after death.

There have been numerous attempts to capture an energy field around the human body, going as far back as photographs by French physician Hippolyte Baraduc in the 1890s. Supernatural interpretations of these images have often been the result of a lack of understanding of the simple natural phenomena behind them, such as heat emanating from a human body producing aura-like images under infrared photography.

You Can’t See It, But Humans Actually Glow with Our Own Form of Bioluminescence

When you hear about bioluminescence, your mind probably jumps to deep-sea creatures like the angler fish, which uses millions of bacteria to make a light appear in front of its head to catch prey and illuminate your nightmares. But what about humans?

According to a study conducted in 2009 by Japanese researchers, human bioluminescence in visible light exists – it’s just too dim for our weak eyes to pick up on.

“The human body literally glimmers,” the team from the Tohoku Institute of Technology wrote in their study published in PLOS One. “The intensity of the light emitted by the body is 1,000 times lower than the sensitivity of our naked eyes.”

The team made this odd discovery using super-sensitive cameras to monitor five healthy male volunteers for 20 minutes every 3 hours inside a light-tight room for three days straight (in between sleep, of course).

They found that participants ‘glowed’ throughout the day, with the brightest spots appearing around the forehead, neck, and cheeks in the late afternoon. The dimmest bioluminescence was recorded late at night.

And this wasn’t infrared radiation caused by heat – despite how the images might appear. Those signals are actually from photons of visible light (light particles) not caused by heat:

So, what’s going on here? Well, it’s actually a pretty interesting side-effect of our metabolisms.

As Elliot Bentley sums up for The Guardian, human bioluminescence is “the result of highly reactive free radicals produced through cell respiration interacting with free-floating lipids and proteins”.

These excited molecules can then interact with fluorophores, which can emit a photon, and boom, you’re actually glowing.

The team thinks the participants’ heads glowed the most because this part of the body generally sees more sunlight, affecting the melanin inside the skin and triggering the illuminating reaction better than in other areas.

Further backing up the hypothesis that animal bioluminescence is attached to metabolic rates, the researchers suggest that the glow could be linked to the body’s biological clock.

So, in the late afternoon when we’re burning the most energy, we glow the brightest.

The team hopes that in the future, we might be able to scan a person’s body surface to check light levels, indicating possible medical conditions that express themselves in changes in metabolism.

“If you can see the glimmer from the body’s surface, you could see the whole-body condition,” team member Masaki Kobayashi told Charles Q. Choi at Live Science.

So the next time someone tells you you’re glowing, you’ll know they’re speaking the truth.

What To Expect During a Reading

While Kathryn Grace, founder of Aura Shop in Santa Monica California, says that it’s not always possible to see aura colors with the naked eye, we can usually feel them. Think about how certain people give off a super warm and friendly vibe (or really negative energy) even before they say a word; that’s the aura at work. (You can also take a quick aura quiz if you’re curious about your aura color.)

Aura Colors

Red

If you have red in your aura, you are likely an energetic and fiery person, according to aura reader Rachelle Terry. Red auras indicate someone who is “quick at putting thoughts into action” and “doesn’t read instruction manuals.”

Orange

An orange aura is related to the sacral chakra, which deals with creativity and sexual energy. Orange in the aura may then indicate flowing creative energy.  Additionally, if orange shows up in your aura, it might mean you “tend to learn lessons from experience rather than theory” and “often have to learn things the hard way.”

Yellow

As you might have guessed with this cheery color, yellow auras signify someone who is sunny and charismatic. They may also have a magnetic personality that attracts lots of different people.

Yellow is the color of the solar plexus chakra, which deals with your identity and confidence. Yellow in your aura, then, is a good sign that you’re feeling confident and empowered.

Green

Green is one color associated with the heart chakra, so it relates to matters of the heart: love for yourself and others, compassion, and forgiveness.  If you have green in your aura, you probably love “music, nature, and not being tied down.” Because a green aura indicates a particularly open heart,  there may be a tendency to be easily influenced by one’s environment or other people, making boundaries important for this aura color.

Pink

If there’s pink in your aura (the other color, along with green, associated with the heart chakra), you likely live from the heart. You’re “kind, caring, and loving.” Like green, seeing pink is a sign that your heart chakra is open and receptive. Celebrate your kind and compassionate nature but remember the need for boundaries.

Blue

Blue in someone’s aura is a sign of a powerful mind—but one that might be a bit in the clouds. Those with lots of blue in their aura “operate more in the mental realms” and need to remember to ground themselves. But they can also be very insightful.  Blue is the color of the throat chakra, governing expression, and truth. If your throat chakra is clear and flowing, the blue in your aura would signify the outward expression of the insights you hold inside.

Purple

Purple auras get a lot of attention because this is the color associated with strong intuition and sensitivity, and great mental depths.  Purple is the color of the third-eye chakra, which deals with intuition. If you have purple in your aura, you may have some psychic, empathic, or intuitive abilities.

Indigo

An indigo aura often indicates a highly sensitive and empathic person who absorbs thoughts, feelings, emotions, and traumas of others.  And the darker the indigo aura, the more sensitive the person with darker shades of indigo indicating saturation of this ability and an overwhelm of others’ energies within themselves.

White

It’s a bit rare to see concentrations of white in one’s aura. But if you do it is the sign of a very quick mind—and a tendency for perfectionism and nervous energy.  White is linked to the crown chakra, which connects us to universal energy and oneness. To see it in your aura would mean you have a strong sense of connection to something larger than yourself.

Black

If there are black or particularly dark areas of your aura this isn’t actually the “color” of your aura, per se, but rather a sign that part of you is exhausted or fatigued.  In this case, take some time to ground, heal, and balance your energy levels to brighten up that aura a bit, and bring your energetic field (and chakras) back into balance.

Rainbow

On the slight chance that you have a rainbow aura that displays more than two colors, it’s a sign that you’re going through a super busy period or are in the midst of a change.  You might feel extra energized and confident when your aura is giving off rainbow vibes, so take advantage of it by getting out and meeting new people and doing new things. On the other side of the coin, this busy energy can lead to burnout and overwhelm, so be sure to make time for relaxation too.

The takeaway

Our aura is constantly changing—but for many people, one or two colors will consistently show up. Whether one day you’re blue, yellow, or red, understanding the energy of your aura at any given point can help you approach the day with more ease.

Resources:

HUMANS  By JOSH HRALA

MindBodyGreen

PlusOne

The Guardian